Used MINI Countryman review

A full used buyer’s guide on the MINI Countryman covering the Countryman Mk2 (2017-date)

The Austin and Morris Mini of 1959 rewrote the rulebook when it came to brilliant packaging, affordability and a great driving experience.

But the motoring world had moved on by the time BMW launched its all-new MINI in 2001, with buyers expecting much more in terms of comfort and safety. As a result the new MINI hatch was much bigger, not so efficiently packaged and less affordable thanks to BMW’s aspirations to take the MINI brand upmarket. But BMW had only just got started, because a raft of bigger cars followed, the largest of which was the Countryman SUV of 2010. The Mk2 covered here came six years later, and was larger, plusher and more sophisticated than ever.

Models covered

  • MINI Countryman Mk2 (2017-date) - Countryman is a great choice for those wanting MINI style with more practicality.

History

MINI’s second-generation Countryman landed in showrooms in April 2017, priced from £22,465. Buyers could choose from 134bhp Cooper and 189bhp Cooper S petrol models, or 148bhp Cooper D and 187bhp Cooper SD diesels. All were available with front or four-wheel drive (badged All4) and with an automatic or manual gearbox, apart from the auto-only Cooper SD.

The performance-orientated 228bhp John Cooper Works (JCW) arrived in spring 2017 with standard four-wheel drive; the plug-in hybrid Cooper S E All4 joined the range in June 2017 with an emphasis on economy.

A facelifted Countryman arrived in May 2020 and featured a new grille, standard LED head and rear lights, updated engines and a new digital dashboard with a five-inch colour screen. There were also fresh colours and finishes inside and out.

Which one should I buy?

Whichever powertrain you choose, you’ll probably love your Countryman; the plug-in hybrid offers an impressive balance between performance and economy, but this model is expensive, and a diesel offers comparable economy for less initial outlay.

From the outset all Countrymans came with alloys, air-con, DAB radio and sat-nav; most buyers chose a Chili Pack that brought part-leather trim, climate control and bigger 18 or 19-inch rims. From October 2018 there was a new trim structure, with buyers still able to pick between Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper D models, but now there were Classic, Sport and Exclusive trims, plus the extensive options list. The Classic comes with 16 or 17-inch wheels; the Sport features 18-inch alloys, sports seats and a bodykit, while the Exclusive has leather-trimmed seats.

Alternatives to the MINI Countryman

The Countryman sits between the B and C-segment SUV sectors in terms of size, but its premium pricing means that you can buy bigger cars for your money. These include compact SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. If these are too big, the SEAT Arona, Volkswagen T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq might suit; they’re essentially all the same car but with different badges.

Other small SUVs worth considering are the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3. If you fancy something a little bigger that still has a premium feel, you should look at the Audi Q3, Volkswagen T-Roc and BMW X1.

What to look for

Codes

The original MINI Countryman was codenamed R60 by BMW; the Mk2 was dubbed the F60.

Plug-in hybrid

The PHEV can officially cover 25 miles in electric mode and return 134mpg; real-world figures are closer to 18 miles and 60mpg.

Towing

Most Countrymans are capable of towing up to 1,500kg, but the four-wheel-drive All4 Cooper S can haul as much as 1,800kg.

Rattles

Dashboard rattles aren’t unusual in the Mk2, but fixing them is long-winded because it means significant dismantling of the Countryman’s dash.

Interior

MINI has always put an emphasis on design as well as quality, and both are evident in abundance here. Fit and finish are excellent and there are neat design touches everywhere you look, but there’s no hint of style over substance because everything is also pretty user-friendly.

Passenger space is fairly decent too, with lots of headroom and a sliding rear seat that allows anywhere between 450 and 1,390 litres of boot capacity depending on whether the seats are slid forwards or back, or folded up or down. The Countryman gets an 8.8-inch colour infotainment display as standard, with nav and Apple CarPlay included. An extra £1,300 buys the Navigation Plus Pack, with a digital cockpit display, wireless charging and Amazon Alexa.

Prices

You can buy a MINI Countryman from as as little as £7,275 on our sister site BuyaCar.

Running costs

MINI Countryman owners can choose fixed or condition-based servicing. The former allows up to 12 months or 10,000 miles between visits to the garage, while the latter normally flags up that maintenance is due after 18,000 miles or two years, although it can be less than this depending on how the car is driven.

An oil change costs £111, an oil and filter change is £183, while a fresh air filter and spark plugs, plus an engine oil and filter change is £304. Most MINIs come with the balance of a TLC pre-paid servicing package, which lasts five years or 50,000 miles; you can see if a Countryman has the balance of a TLC package remaining at tinyurl.com/suy4dk3k. All Countryman engines are chain-driven, so there are no timing belts to replace.

Recalls

The MINI Countryman Mk2 has been recalled eight times so far, the first coming in July 2018 because of faulty front suspension, which could collapse while the car was being driven. Some models left the factory without a crash protection plate for the fuel pump; these were recalled in September 2018 to have the plate fitted.

Since then there have been further campaigns due to incorrect crankshaft sensor software (October 2018), short circuits in an electronic circuit board (March 2019), faulty steering components (April 2020) and curtain airbag glitches (May 2020). The two most recent recalls came in August and October 2020; the first was launched because of leaking exhaust gas recirculation module coolers, while the second one was down to faulty batteries being fitted in plug-in hybrid models.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The Countryman hasn’t appeared in our Driver Power new or used-car surveys, but the Mk3 MINI hatch was 55th out of 100 in our 2019 used-car poll. In that same year MINI came 18th in the brands section, but in 2020 the firm tumbled to 26th out of 30, let down by high servicing costs and poor front-seat comfort. Owners like the performance, build quality, interior design and driving experience, though.

Verdict

While the word ‘mini’ is not the most inappropriate one when talking about the Countryman, this relatively compact SUV actually fits in with the MINI brand very well. That’s partly why it’s been a great success since the introduction of the Mk1 model. Just like its smaller MINI siblings the Countryman looks smart, and is well made, user-friendly and good to drive. We ran a Countryman Plug-In Hybrid on our test fleet in 2017/18 and loved its blend of usability, comfort, thoughtful design touches and refinement. We averaged around 65mpg in normal use, although this dipped to 56mpg in the winter. The only problem in our time with the car was an erratic hands-free electric tailgate. However, we loved everything else about the Countryman, because the not-so-mini MINI really was that good.

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